Moving as often as she does, Avery West doesn’t allow herself to connect much with her new environments or classmates. It’s a defense mechanism against the always inevitable move looming just over the next horizon. But just as she’s considering violating that rule at her new school, thanks to the cute new guy in several of her classes, her mom announces it’s time to move again — and move quickly.
Fed up with her mom’s evasiveness, Avery decides to defy orders and attend the prom anyway with Jack (hot guy from class). This decisions thrusts Avery into a world she barely knew existed and she soon finds herself globe-trotting across the world, tracking down the family of her (presumed) dead father as well as discovering her role in an ancient, far-reaching political agenda that may have ramifications far beyond just attending prom. It seems that Avery is an unwitting part of an on-going battle between two forces and she could, quite possibly, be the missing link in a global prophecy.
Oh and in case you should forget this is a young adult novel, there’s also a love triangle to help keep the pages turning. (Or in my case, to keep my eyes rolling since it relies on that young adult trope — instant attraction!). Avery’s torn between Jack and Stellan, two guys who showed up at her prom and nearly came to blows over her. As Avery eludes the various forces coming against her, both guys show up at various times to save her bacon and for her have insta-love crushes on. It probably helps that both guys are the hunkiest hunks to grace the printed page since the last young adult novel.
Listening to The Conspiracy of Us as an audio book while working out, I was at times entirely caught up in Avery’s story and at times entirely put off by it. The moments when Avery and her various suitors are piecing together bits of the far-reaching conspiracy and puzzle are fun and fascinating. Alas, these are completely off-set by long passages (at least they feel that way) of Avery reflecting on Jack and Stellan as well as how her life has changed so much since that momentous Friday afternoon just a few days ago. Add in that potentially every person who has shown kindness to Avery since she was a young child is apparently part of this conspiracy and some wild coincidences that had me shaking my head while pounding out my mileage and you’ve got a book that can be extremely entertaining and extremely frustrating — often within the same chapter.
A lot of this comes down to Avery, who seems to be a smart-cookie except when the plot calls for her to do silly things. Or there’s the fact that she’s so willing to accept this new world without much question or to even begin to question her mother’s roles and motives in hiding this world from her for sixteen plus years. Based on the cliffhanger ending and the fact that little, if anything, is resolved (another frustration) I can only assume this will be dealt with in future installments. Whether or not I pick them up and continue with this series remains to be seen, however.